From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:
A class action lawsuit has been filed against a popular seafood restaurant in downtown Charleston, after employees allege their tips were kept from them unfairly.
Former employees of Eli Hyman, and other owners of Hyman’s Seafood, are suing for minimum wages and overtime compensation.
They allege the restaurant’s policy violates the Fair Labor Standards act.
Under what’s known as the tip credit, server’s can be paid less than $7.25 as long as their tips get them to or about the minimum wage. However, when a restaurant’s policy is to distribute tips among non-tipped employees, for example the dishwasher, than servers or tipped employees should get paid minimum wage.
14 employees in the lawsuit allege they were paid $2.13 an hour plus their tips were deducted and placed into a “tip pool” to distribute with other employees who customarily do not get tips.
“They're claiming that the restaurant keep a portion of their tips not only for management for breakage which was, for plates that were being broken or silverware that was being lost. Also, for sharing their tips with other employees who are not regularly tipped employees,” Bruce Miller said, an employment and labor law attorney representing the employees.
The lawsuit all began with one employee who had been working at Hyman’s Seafood since 2010, when she began as a hostess. It is unclear when she started working as a server.
However, Miller said she is seeking actual damages for three years and is also suing for liquidation damages - all totaling approximately $60,000.
Hyman’s Seafood attorney released the following statement to News 2 regarding the lawsuit.
Photo Credit: Kentoh Shutterstock